Nursing Jobs to Increase 23% for RNs

By Sunamita Lim for

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an arm of the U.S. Department of Labor, in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition has released very encouraging data suggesting a strong need for new nurses over the next decade or so.

Significantly, this latest BLS edition report on Nursing Jobs :

  • Registered nurses (RNs) with nursing degrees make up the largest group of healthcare professionals, estimated at over 2.5 million based on 2006 data. The American Nurses Association’s current figures are at 2.9 million.
  • In 2006, about 59% of nursing jobs were in hospitals; 8% in physician offices; 5% in home health care services; 5% in nursing care facilities; 4% in employment services and 3% in outpatient care centers.
  • About 21% of RNs worked part-time; so nurses can select how much time you’d like to spend working.
  • RNs earn their degrees from a bachelor’s or an associate degree or diploma from an approved nursing program.
  • Between 2006-2016, RNs will be generating over 587,000 jobs—one of the largest job increases in all occupations tracked by BLS.

BLS is also enthusiastic about the growing potential for RNs to be employed (although varying by geographic location) and the overall RN jobs outlook remains positive. BLS sees two dominant trends developing for RN employment:

  1. Expanding much faster than all other occupations up to 2016
  2. Many new nursing jobs given the large scope of this profession and also from many who will be retiring.

The 23% spurt in hiring RNs between 2006-2016 speaks well for those qualified. Here’s another trend—BLS sees a drop in hospitals hiring RNs. However, this is more than offset by the increase for outpatient care. “Rapid growth is expected in hospital outpatient facilities, such as those providing same-day surgery, rehabilitation and chemotherapy,” the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 notes.

Why is the trend for outpatient care happening? Because, sophisticated medical procedures once performed in hospitals are increasingly performed in private clinics and outpatient care clinics. Nursing care facilities will also exert a demand for RNs.

With this excellent prognosis for employment, RNs with advanced specialties in four areas—clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, and nurse anesthetists—will be in high demand to serve inner cities and rural areas which are generally understaffed by physicians.

In 2006, the median earnings for RNs came in at $57,280. Even the lowest 10% earned an average of $40,250 while the highest 10% made over $83,440. This BLS report ended on an encouraging note: “Many employers offer flexible work schedules, child care, educational benefits and bonuses.”

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